If you're a Toronto Maple Leafs' fan this probably gives you a lot of confidence in the current direction of your team and the organization itself, if you're a New York Islanders fan however it may have the opposite impact on you.
On Friday veteran National Hockey League executive Lou Lamoriello was a guest on Sirius/XM NHL Network radio and during his interview on air he made comments that may lead you to believe that, in spite of his vast years of experience in the league, the man may have finally lost his touch. The former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager and current president of hockey operations and general manager of the New York Islanders was asked his thoughts on analytics, a more modern trend in the NHL, and his comment made it clear that he was entirely enamored of the practice.
“You have to be very careful with it" began Lamoriello before adding, "It can get in the way."
These comments not only serve to show how Lamoriello, one of the NHL's elder statesmen, currently views the game but may also shed some light on a number of recent moves that have either been made by him directly or by those around him. First and foremost as I mentioned above this likely feels like a disaster averted for fans of the Maple Leafs especially after the appointment of general manager Kyle Dubas.
Dubas was hired by the Maple Leafs organization after Lamoriello was forced out of the general manager's position, and although this is speculation on my part I do believe that he was forced out. The deal in place was reportedly for Lamoriello to take on an advisory position within the organization but he almost immediately bolted for long island following the appointment of Dubas which indicates to me that he was not at all happy with the move. Dubas isn't only several decades younger than Lamoriello but is considered to be one of the foremost analytical geniuses in the game and that is likely what resulted in Leafs' president Brendan Shanahan making the move he did. Hockey is considered by many to be years behind some of the other major sports in North America in terms of analytics and clearly the Leafs felt it was important to get ahead of the rest of the teams in the league on that front.
Additionally the moves made by Lamoriello following his hiring in New York also seem to point to the fact that the grizzled veteran still wants to bring a more old school style to both his team on the ice and to the front office as well. One need look no further than the acquisitions that were made by Lamoriello, many of which targeted former Maple Leafs', to see that. Lamoriello went out and quickly picked up veteran forward and sometimes NHL enforcer Matt Martin in a trade with the Maple Leafs and he also signed former Leafs veteran Leo Komarov to a multi year contract in free agency.
Lamoriello also called for a "culture change" in New York and it seems like he wants to get the team back to playing hard nosed hockey rather than focusing on skill and speed as many teams have in the NHL.
Are with Lamoriello on this one? Or is this a sign that he is behind the times?
Photo Credit: Keystone Press